Quotations about   alcohol

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I could not live without Champagne. In victory I deserve it. In defeat I need it.

Winston Churchill (1874-1965) British statesman and author
Comment to Odette Pol Roger (1946)

Frequently misattributed to Napoleon Bonaparte ("In victory you deserve champagne. In defeat you need it."); no citation of the quote has been fond prior to 1946. See here for more discussion.
Added on 13-Mar-19 | Last updated 13-Mar-19
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I would give all my fame for a pot of ale, and safety.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Henry V, Act 3, sc. 2 [Boy] (1599)
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Added on 2-Apr-18 | Last updated 2-Apr-18
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You ought to get out of those wet clothes and into a dry martini.

Mae West (1892-1980) American film actress
Every Day’s a Holiday (movie) [Larmadou Graves] (1937)

West both starred in the film (as the recipient of this line, Peaches O'Day) and wrote the screenplay. Often attributed to Robert Benchley, who used the line in a film a few years later, and claimed he got it from a joke book.
Added on 16-Feb-18 | Last updated 16-Feb-18
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There is something about a Martini,
A tingle remarkably pleasant;
A yellow, a mellow Martini;
I wish I had one at present.
There is something about a Martini,
Ere the dining and dancing begin,
And to tell you the truth,
It is not the vermouth —
I think that perhaps it’s the gin.

Ogden Nash (1902-1971) American poet
“A Drink with Something In It,” The Primrose Path (1935)
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Added on 17-Nov-17 | Last updated 17-Nov-17
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Well, with one martini ah feel bigger, wiser, taller, and with two it goes to the superlative, and ah feel biggest, wisest, tallest, and with three there ain’t no holdin’ me.

William Faulkner (1897-1962) American novelist
(Attributed)
    (Source)

As quoted in Lauren Bacall, By Myself (1978). Often paraphrased or rendered back into standard English, e.g., "When I have one martini, I feel bigger, wiser, taller. When I have a second, I feel superlative. When I have more, there's no holding me."
Added on 3-Nov-17 | Last updated 3-Nov-17
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The Martini is to middle- and upper-class American society what peyote is to the Yaqui Indians: a sacred rite that affirms tribal identity, encourages fanciful thought and —
let’s be honest here — delivers a whoppingly nice high.

Barnaby Conrad III (b. 1952) American author, artist, editor
“Martini Madness,” Cigar Aficionado (Spring 1996)
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Added on 16-Oct-17 | Last updated 16-Oct-17
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A word of caution to neophyte Martini drinkers: When taken to excess, this perfectly civilized drink can lead directly to uncivilized behavior. … The purpose of the Martini is to enhance the evening, not to obliterate it.

Barnaby Conrad III (b. 1952) American author, artist, editor
“Martini Madness,” Cigar Aficionado (Spring 1996)
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Added on 8-Sep-17 | Last updated 8-Sep-17
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There are two reasons for drinking: one is, when you are thirsty, to cure it; the other, when you are not thirsty, to prevent it. The first is obvious, mechanical, and plebeian; the second is most refined, abstract, prospicient, and canonical. I drink by anticipation of thirst that may be. Prevention is better than cure.

Thomas Love Peacock (1785-1866) English novelist, satirist, poet, merchant
Melincourt, ch. 16 (1817)
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Added on 6-Sep-17 | Last updated 6-Sep-17
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A good martini, a good meal, a good cigar and a good woman … or a bad woman, depending on how much happiness you can stand.

George Burns (1896-1996) American comedian
Dr. Burns’ Prescription for Happiness, “Nine Definitions of Happiness” (1984)
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Added on 26-Aug-17 | Last updated 26-Aug-17
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Alcohol: A liquid good for preserving almost everything except secrets.

Other Authors and Sources
Charles Wayland Towne, The Foolish Dictionary (1905)
Added on 23-Aug-17 | Last updated 23-Aug-17
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Not drunk is he who from the floor
Can rise alone and still drink more;
But drunk is they, who prostrate lies,
Without the power to arise.

Thomas Love Peacock (1785-1866) English novelist, satirist, poet, merchant
The Misfortunes of Elphin, ch. 3 (1829)
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Added on 8-Aug-17 | Last updated 8-Aug-17
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Alcohol is a good preservative for everything but brains.

Mary Pettibone Poole (fl. 1930s) American aphorist
A Glass Eye at the Keyhole (1938)
Added on 2-Aug-17 | Last updated 2-Aug-17
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Abstaining is favorable both to the head and the pocket.

Horace Greeley (1881-1872) American newspaper editor, reformer, politician
(Attributed)
    (Source)

Quoted in Maturin Murray Ballou, Edge-Tools of Speech (1886).
Added on 17-Jul-17 | Last updated 17-Jul-17
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Alcohol is a very patient drug. It will wait for the alcoholic to pick it up ONE MORE TIME. It will wait forever.

Mercedes McCambridge (1916-2004) American actress
The Quality of Mercy: An Autobiography (1981)
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Added on 12-Jul-17 | Last updated 12-Jul-17
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Almost anything can be preserved in alcohol, except health, happiness, and money.

Mary Wilson Little (1880?-?) American writer
A Paragrapher’s Reveries (1904)
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Added on 5-Jul-17 | Last updated 5-Jul-17
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You’re trying to drown your sorrows in alcohol and it won’t work. Sorrows know how to swim.

Ann Landers (1918-2002) American advice columnist [pseud. for Eppie Lederer]
“Ask Ann Landers,” syndicated column (1958)

Landers used the phrase multiple times, e.g.,
  • "And now an added P.S. In these days of political unrest, financial crisis and emotional upheaval, a word to those of you who are trying to drown your sorrow. Please be aware that sorrow knows how to swim." [The Ann Landers Encyclopedia: A to Z (1978)]
  • "People who drink to drown their sorrow should be told that sorrow knows how to swim."
However, the phrase predates her in a variety of anonymous sources; see here for more discussion.
Added on 21-Jun-17 | Last updated 7-Jan-19
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I often think of alcohol as a genie in a bottle. It promises everything but eventually imprisons you in the bottle itself.

Erica Jong (b. 1942) American writer, poet
Seducing the Demon: Writing for My Life, ch. 2 (2006)
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Added on 14-Jun-17 | Last updated 14-Jun-17
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“I hope that you did not give him anything, Mr Sanderson!”

“Of course I did, ma’am.”

“But he would only spend it on drink! You know what the working classes are!”

“Indeed, ma’am, and why should he not spend it on drink? Would you deprive the poor, whose lives are bad and miserable and comfortless enough, of the solace of a little relief from grinding poverty? A sordid, sodden relief perhaps, but would you be so heartless as to deny the poor even that pleasure in which all of us indulge at your generous expense?”

Kerry Greenwood (b. 1954) Australian author and lawyer
Cocaine Blues (1989)
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Added on 25-May-17 | Last updated 25-May-17
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I took a sip. It went surprisingly well with the veal. On the other hand, the fourth margarita goes surprisingly well with everything.

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) American writer
Taming A Sea-Horse (1986)
Added on 6-Apr-17 | Last updated 6-Apr-17
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Show me the way to go home
I’m tired and I want to go to bed
I had a little drink about an hour ago
And it went right to my head.

Irving King (fl. 1920s) British songwriter [pseud. of Jimmy Campbell (1903-1967) and Reg Connelly (c. 1895-1963)]
“Show Me the Way to Go Home” (1925)
Added on 17-Jan-17 | Last updated 17-Jan-17
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While I’m having these grim thoughts, I notice that my martini glass is nearly empty. It’s not a terribly endearing drink — it tastes like something that got hosed off a runway, then diluted with antifreeze — but it does what it says on the label.

Charles "Charlie" Stross (b. 1964) British writer
The Jennifer Morgue (2006)
Added on 17-Jan-17 | Last updated 17-Jan-17
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It remains true, however, that an inconveniently placed railing or sharp corner will not remove itself from the path of a drunkard, even if that drunkard is unaware of the obstacles on the path he has set for himself; in other words, no matter to what degree we are oblivious to the world, it makes its own choices as to how oblivious it will be to us.

Steven Brust (b. 1955) American writer, systems programmer
The Phoenix Guards (1991)
Added on 23-Nov-16 | Last updated 23-Nov-16
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R-E-M-O-R-S-E!
Those dry Martinis did the work for me;
Last night at twelve I felt immense,
Today I feel like thirty cents.,
My eyes are bleared, my coppers hot,
I’ll try to eat, but I cannot.
It is no time for mirth and laughter,
The cold, gray down of the morning after.

George Ade (1866-1944) American writer, newspaper columnist, playwright
The Sultan of Sulu, Act 2 (1903)
Added on 12-Oct-16 | Last updated 12-Oct-16
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LEFITT: Well, that didn’t work either.
BORAAN: It most certainly did not.
LEFITT: So, your next idea?
BORAAN: A drink, of course. Maize-oishka and water. Six parts water.
LEFITT: That seems rather weak.
BORAAN: Well, but one hundred parts oishka, do you see?
LEFITT: Ah. Yes, it is all clear to me now.

— Miersen, Six Parts Water, Day Two, Act I, Scene 5

Steven Brust (b. 1955) American writer, systems programmer
Jhegaala, epigram (2008)
Added on 23-Sep-16 | Last updated 23-Sep-16
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Hearts full of youth!
Hearts full of truth!
Six parts gin to
One part vermouth!

Tom Lehrer (b. 1928) American mathematician, satirist, songwriter
“Bright College Days,” An Evening (Wasted) with Tom Lehrer (1959)
Added on 26-May-16 | Last updated 26-May-16
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New Year’s is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls, and humbug resolutions, and we wish you to enjoy it with a looseness suited to the greatness of the occasion.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
“New Year’s Day,” Virginia City Territorial Enterprise (Jan 1864)
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Added on 31-Dec-15 | Last updated 31-Dec-15
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It will not bother me in the hour of death to reflect that I have been ‘had for a sucker’ by any number of impostors: but it would be a torment to know that one had refused even one person in need. After all, the parable of the sheep and goats makes our duty perfectly plain, doesn’t it? Another thing that annoys me is when people say ‘Why did you give that man money? He’ll probably go and drink it.’ My reply is ‘But if I’d kept [it] I should probably have drunk it.’

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
Letter to Mary Willis Shelburne (26 Oct 1962)
Added on 4-Nov-15 | Last updated 4-Nov-15
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The whole lesson of my life has been that no ‘methods of stimulation’ are of any lasting use. They are indeed like drugs — a stronger dose is needed each time and soon no possible dose is effective. We must not bother about thrills at all. Do the present duty — bear the present pain — enjoy the present pleasure — and leave emotions and ‘experiences’ to look after themselves.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
Letter to Mrs. Ray Garrett (12 Sep 1960)
Added on 14-Oct-15 | Last updated 14-Oct-15
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SYDNEY: Even though a number of people have tried, no one has yet found a way to drink for a living.

Jean Kerr (1922-2003) American author and playwright [b. Bridget Jean Collins]
Poor Richard, Act 1 (1965)
Added on 5-Oct-15 | Last updated 5-Oct-15
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Liquor doesn’t make you feel better. Just makes you not so worried about feeling bad.

James S. A. Corey (contemp.) American writer [pen name of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck]
Leviathan Wakes (2011)
Added on 9-Sep-15 | Last updated 9-Sep-15
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That’s what I hate about the war on drugs. All day long we see those commercials: “Here’s your brain, here’s your brain on drugs”, “Just Say No”, “Why do you think they call it dope?” … And then the next commercial is “This Bud’s for yooouuuu.” C’mon, everybody, let’s be hypocritical bastards. It’s okay to drink your drug. We meant those other drugs. Those untaxed drugs. Those are the ones that are bad for you.

Bill Hicks (1961-1994) American stand-up comedian, social critic, satirist, musician [William Melvin "Bill" Hicks]
Performance, Pittsburgh (20 Jun 1991)

Recorded in Flying Saucer Tour, Vol. 1 (2002)
Added on 17-Apr-15 | Last updated 17-Apr-15
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Beer makes you feel the way you ought to feel without beer.

Henry Lawson (1867-1922) Australian writer and poet
(Attributed)
    (Source)

Quoted in Denton Prout, Henry Lawson: The Grey Dreamer (1963); David Low, Autobiography(1956). Also attributed to David McKee Wright.
Added on 13-Nov-14 | Last updated 13-Nov-14
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It is disgusting to notice the increase in the quantity of coffee used by my subjects. … If possible, this must be prevented. My people must drink beer.

Frederick II (1712-1786) King of Prussia (a.k.a. Frederick the Great)
Proclamation (13 Sep 1777)
Added on 30-Oct-14 | Last updated 29-May-17
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Wine gives a man nothing. It neither gives him knowledge nor wit; it only animates a man, and enables him to bring out what a dread of the company has repressed. It only puts in motion what had been locked up in frost.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
Comment (28 Apr 1778)

In James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson (1791)
Added on 18-Apr-14 | Last updated 18-Apr-14
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Take a drink because you pity yourself, and then the drink pities you and has a drink, and then two good drinks get together and that calls for drinks all around. No; he’d have one drink, maybe a little bigger than usual, before he went to bed.

H. Beam Piper (1904-1964) American author
Little Fuzzy (1962)
Added on 17-Apr-14 | Last updated 17-Apr-14
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Laugh whenever you can. Keeps you from killing yourself when things are bad. That and vodka.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Changes, ch. 33 [Sanya] (2010)
Added on 28-Jan-14 | Last updated 28-Jan-14
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It seems there is something spiritual in wine.

Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) French moralist
Pensées (1838) [ed. Auster (1983)]
Added on 7-Oct-13 | Last updated 13-May-16
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I’d love to have a martini,
Two at the very most.
With three I’m under the table,
With four I’m under my host.

Dorothy Parker (1893-1967) American writer
(Attributed)

Variant:
I like to have a Martini
But only two at the most,
After three I'm under the table,
After four I'm under my host.
Added on 21-Jun-13 | Last updated 10-Nov-17
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Wine has drowned more than the sea.

Publilius Syrus (d. 42 BC) Assyrian slave, writer, philosopher [less correctly Publius Syrus]
Sententiae [Moral Sayings]

Alt. trans.: "Wine drowns more than the sea."
Added on 14-Jun-13 | Last updated 15-Feb-17
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Alcohol is nicissary f’r a man so that now an’ thin he can have a good opinion iv himsilf, ondisturbed be th’ facts.

[Alcohol is necessary for a man so that now and then he can have a good opinion of himself, undisturbed by the facts.]

Finley Peter Dunne (1867-1936) American humorist and journalist
“Mr. Dooley on Alcohol,” Chicago Tribune (26 Apr 1914)
Added on 10-May-13 | Last updated 19-Feb-16
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First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.

F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940) American writer [Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald]
(Attributed)

See also Hokekyo-Sho, Piper, and this Spanish Proverb.

Added on 7-Aug-09 | Last updated 17-Apr-14
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I hadn’t any heart to touch my breakfast. I told Jeeves to drink it himself.

P. G. Wodehouse (1881-1975) Anglo-American humorist, playwright and lyricist [Pelham Grenville Wodehouse]
My Man Jeeves (1919)
Added on 30-Apr-09 | Last updated 5-Sep-19
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PORTER: It provokes and unprovokes; it provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance: therefore much drink may be said to be an equivocator with lechery: it makes him, and it mars him: it sets him on, and it takes him off.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Macbeth Act 2, sc. 3, l. 32 (1605)
Added on 22-Dec-08 | Last updated 26-Mar-15
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Alcohol is like love: the first kiss is magic, the second is intimate, the third is routine. After that you just take the girl’s clothes off.

Raymond Chandler (1888-1959) American novelist
The Long Good-bye, ch. 12 (1954)
Added on 16-May-08 | Last updated 5-Nov-15
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Drink! for you know not whence you came nor why:
Drink! for you know not why you go, nor where.

Omar Khayyám (1048-1123) Persian poet, mathematician, philosopher, astronomer
Rubáiyát, 74 [tr. FitzGerald, 4th ed. (1879)]
Added on 19-Aug-07 | Last updated 31-Jul-17
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